How often do we spend time reminiscing about the past or planning for the future? We think of time as something that exists independently of us; something so limited and precious that we better use it wisely. By constant planning, we are living in fear that we won’t get enough, learn enough, or accomplish enough in the future. We fear that if we don’t plan, the future won’t be better than the past. But what does better mean? What are you trying to accomplish? What do you think the future has waiting for you that you don’t have now?
Rather than asking yourself what you know and what you still have to accomplish, and fearing that there is still so much more to learn and a great deal more to accomplish, simply ask yourself: What is my experience right now? What am I using time for? Am I using time to create peace for myself right now? If not, I must be using time to value something else more than I value peace.
I choose now to value the experience of peace more than I value anything else.
Often we get confused about what it means to be at peace. We think that if we suffer now by doing the job we despise, or if we deprive ourselves of something we would like to have now, that we will be rewarded in the future for our sacrifices today. We may say that being at peace is our highest priority, but we qualify that intention by saying that we’re choosing to be in some sort of conflict now so that we can have peace later. That makes no sense. It is no different than thinking that you can plant a weed in your garden and have tomatoes come up later. It really is like the saying: as you sow, so shall you reap: If you sow fear and sense of lack now, you will reap fear and a sense of lack later. Whatever you invest in, you will have more of.
So the question is: What am I using time for? Is the result bringing me peace right now, not just anticipated peace? There is no such thing as anticipated peace because it’s impossible to be at peace while anticipating anything. Anticipating simply means using time to value something that is not here. How do you expect to feel at peace when you’re valuing something that is not here, and is therefore an illusion?
But what do I do? I can’t quit my job? Who’s going to pay my bills?! If you decided you have to do something that’s currently not bringing you peace, can you change your thoughts about your situation and instead of seeing yourself as a victim, see yourself as a creator of your own experience? You are, in truth, the only creator of your experience. Nothing external to you has the power to disrupt your peace. Your peace is disrupted only when you value certain thoughts, which are in your mind, more than you value peace. So you can stay employed at the same place you’ve been unhappily employed for years — you will be in the same situation physically — but your whole experience will change completely because you decided to use time differently. When you decide to use time to create peace for yourself, no matter what the external circumstances are, you will realize that no one ever had the power to create your experience for you, but that you mistakenly thought so.
The ego will tell you that your lack of peace or loss of peace is someone else’s fault. The ego will also tell you that being at peace is a luxury, experienced rarely and only when everyone acts in alignment with what you want and everything falls into place the way you planned. Remember that the ego is nothing but a fear thought, and as such it must be the complete opposite of peace. Don’t listen to the ego as your teacher because it has failed to bring you peace so far. Listen, instead, to the voice within that knows how to create peace simply because it was created from peace and as peace. That voice is your true self, the part of your mind that is not affected by any external circumstances because it does not reside in time. Past and future are meaningless to your true self, which always rests in the right now and right here — the now and here being completely independent of time and space.
Being at peace is your natural state. You, having been created by absolute peace, can’t be different from your creator. When you don’t feel at peace, you have chosen to use time to value an illusion about yourself more than you value peace, which is your true self. You can use time to perpetuate this illusion about yourself — that you are a body, limited by circumstances that seem to occur within time and space — or you can use time to show you your timelessness. When you choose peace in each moment, regardless of what seems to be happening around you and even to you, you are aligning with your true self, which is always at peace.
When you find yourself at work, surrounded by negative energy and bickering, or when you find yourself stuck in traffic but still choose peace, just ask yourself where the peace you’re experiencing came from? It certainly didn’t come from the bickering co-workers or from the angry stuck drivers. The sense of peace came from you, and it came from that part of you that is not swayed by any events that happen in time and space. These moments of peace within a conflict laden world prove to you that the essence of who you are is never dependent on circumstances that seem to be happening around you and even to you. Your own experience of choosing to use time to create peace for yourself teaches you that time exists only to teach us to heal our own misperceptions.
Through time, you learn that you are timeless. Through this body, which is in time, you learn that you are not contained by a body. And through experiencing peace because you created it for yourself, you learn that you are the only creator of your experience.